Original Published 15:51 May 12, 2022

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Strathmore RCMP are excited to announce the availability of security screws for license plates at the local detachment, firehall and auto retailers. 

According to Sgt. Jay Salmon, the screws are part of a program to help reduce the theft of license plates, as a stolen plate is often used to veil a stolen vehicle. 

“What the criminals will do is find a vehicle similar to the one that they have stolen and they will take the license plate off a non-stolen vehicle and put it on the stolen vehicle, so if we run that license plate it comes up as not being stolen and we just let the car go,” said Salmon. “In regular traffic we would have no reason to stop it, it’s not showing as stolen so it just a way that they can hold on to stolen vehicles a little bit longer.”

By installing security screws on a vehicle it makes it significantly harder for a license plate to be stolen, thus aiding in the RCMP’s ability to locate stolen vehicles. 

Salmon said the process to get a security screw only takes a few minutes and has the potential to save a lot of headaches for local residents.

“So, what happens is, we basically swap out one of the little screws or bolts that holds your license plate onto your car with a security screw that needs a special bit to take it on and off. It just makes it harder for the bad guys to take the license plate,” explained Salmon. “The biggest thing is crime prevention is what we are trying to do. Anything that we can do to help prevent those thefts from happening is a good thing.”

A security screw can be acquired at the Strathmore RCMP detachment, at the Strathmore Fire Station or any local auto dealership, free of charge to the vehicle owner. 

All a person has to do is go into one of those locations and request the installation of a screw. Salmon said this is not something a member of the public can do by themselves as the special bits needed to operate the screws are strictly controlled.

Should you ever need the licence plate removed, all you would need to do is take it back to one of the locations and have them remove the screw, also free of charge.

“It’s a new program, Staff Sgt. Wielgosz brought this over, he has done it in his previous detachments and has seen significant improvements in their criminal activities, so he has brought this idea to Strathmore,” said Salmon. “It literally takes a couple of minutes and it can prevent hours of work. It protects the person as well because then they don’t have to go to a registry to get a new license plate or anything like that.”

The screws will be available to the public indefinitely in Strathmore and the program is fully funded by the local RCMP.

Salmon said he encourages everyone to make use of the program and get the screws installed on their plates. The RCMP are excited to see how much of an impact the program will have for local residents.

This item reprinted with permission from Strathmore Times, Strathmore, Alberta